Candid Notes

December 15, 2020

Prof Aluko’s weeping night

Prof Aluko’s weeping night

By Yinka Odumakin

I SAW the late Prof. Jide Aluko who was Head of the International Relations Department in Ife until Mr. Femi Falana got him sentenced to death of eternal shame in 1987 over the misappropriation of some grant to the department, a few nights ago.

Interestingly, it was the professor who approached the court presided over by Justice Adeniran for libel. He had sued Dr. M. A. Ojo, a colleague for shredding his character. Unfortunately for him, Dr. Ojo engaged Mr. Falana who was then with Aka-Bashorun chambers.

When the case started, Aluko’s lawyers came with the biggest law books in town but Falana had a small bag. I have learnt not to judge him by the volumes of his books but the briefs in his head since he handled my case and Kola Odetola against then University of Ife before the same judge a few months earlier.

We were suspended from the university over the allegation of being responsible for the stoning of the representative of the Visitor, General Ibrahim Babangida (Admiral Patrick Koshoni) out of the convocation ceremony in December 1986.

The university lawyer, Prof. A. B. Kasumu (SAN), was followed by a retinue of lawyers who carried assorted books and Falana came with a small bag making me wonder what would happen. When he got up to address the court, he said he would only rely on the University Handbook which allowed the Vice Chancellor to impose any discipline on a student who had been found guilty of an offence. But in our case we were not tried before we were suspended except the vice chancellor was convinced by Ifa oracle that we committed the office.

Our vice chancellor was a professor of Ifa divination. I saw the bulky SAN shifting in his chair. He got up and asked the court to allow the university to go and follow its due process. But Falana insisted equity does not allow one man to be punished twice for an offence. The court ruled that the university violated its rule in dealing with us and said we should go back to school on a perpetual injunction.

In the case at hand, he waited for the attorneys to the Prof. to exhaust all their legal arsenal and came on board to say the first witness against him shall be the vice chancellor. When the vice chancellor mounted the witness box he was asked to describe Prof. Aluko and he said he was an “honest, hardworking and dedicated colleague.”

Falana said those were rare virtues and asked the vice chancellor if he remembered ever issuing a query to the professor for using a master key to open another lecturer’s office. The vice chancellor answered no and he gave him a copy of it. He asked him if he ever gave him a query over the embezzlement of Ford Foundàtion Grant and he said no again and a copy was served on him. Falana again asked the vice chancellor if ever queried the professor for physically preventing a colleague from representing him at a Faculty lecture. He denied again and he was served proof.

As the vice chancellor walked out of the court, Prof. Omotoye Olorode was perching at the door and heckeld at him Wandus, Wandus, enu opuro o ki nseje, a liar never bleeds in the lips. It was a hitback for the day the DSS came to arrest the radical Botany professor and he was taken to the vice chancellor and Prof. Abimbola told him Toye, irun funfun ma ni tori e yi, ki won ma ti o kiri lai jale (Toye, can’t you see grey hairs on your head and for security to be pushing you about when you are not a thief?)

It was an interesting case that saw the man who filed a libel becoming the accused as Falana pleaded justification for libel. The court was packed full on judgment day. The judge said it was Prof Aluko who came to court to complain that he was called a thief and other names and wondered what any averagely reasonable man would call a person who was proven to have done A-Y.

The judge said the professor had no integrity to protect and the accountability system of a university where his type teaches needs overhaul. He added that he was lucky not to have been charged before him as he would have thrown him to jail straight. Case was dismissed and Prof. Aluko died a few months after the very harsh delivery.

When I saw Prof. Aluko three nights ago he was weeping after he saw the notorious pension-accused thief, Maina, collapse in court like his NDDC pal and others who who have done so in recent time.

ALSO READ: Osinbajo, judges advocate protection of children, vulnerable witnesses

Prof. was wondering if it is now the same country where he could not live with the shame of being accused of stealing millions that people who are now accused of stealing billions can only feign illness and faint before the court. Cry not Prof, I could only say.

.. .ICC light on Nigeria

The festering evil in Nigeria has been going on as if it has the whole world under its feet and that no one would call it to question. Human life has become worthless than those of cows under it and much consequences are at stake for toying with the life of those precious animals in this our  cowtry.

A retired professor once came to our meeting one day complaining how cow herders shot at his car and there wax no police station that would take his complaint from Ekiti to Oshogbo because the Miyetti Allah people are presently above the laws of the land and they have the great leisure of having the commander-in-chief as their patron.

I mentioned it on television and the police called me thinking I made it up. I gave them his number but they are yet to interrogate him in two years.

When over 70 Benue indigenes were massacred on January 1, 2018 by herdsmen, Governor Sam Ortom was summoned to Abuja not to be offered a word of condolence or be assured that law and order would be enforced. The governor was told to go and learn how to live in peace  with his killer-neighbours.

The cowherders have gone across non-Fulani Nigeria killing people with reckless abandon and raping women all over the place with law watching the other way. All of a sudden, banditry took over the country with governors posing with criminals and bandits sealing the fact we are truly back to the jungle of humanity.

Our government officials at a point became spokesmen for these terrorists and excuse their recklessness. Our polity became a laughing stock among enlightened humanity. It appeared we were hopelessly lost and irretrievably captured and irredeemable.

Even when we had #ENDSARS and we sprayed live bullets on youths singing national anthem and waving our flags and CNN captured all the sordid details of the atrocities, Minister Lai Mohammed was threatening the global news agency in reckless arrogance of power and singing “massacre without dead bodies” even with Lagos Coroner advertising unindentified bodies in its morgue dumped between October 19-27, 2020 which was the peak of the crackdown.

The civilised humanity has not totally abandoned Nigeria to the whims of its violators. We had the Brititish Parliament that had a profound public hearing on Nigeria. Reputable organisations like Amnesty International has not kept quite in spite of the shenanigans of a mad regime. Now the International Criminal Court, ICC, is flashing its light on the dark deeds of the repressive authority in Nigeria.

The Nigerian government has not washed itself clean of Wall Street Journal allegation that it paid three million Euros to Boko Haram years back and it has been recruiting members of the evil group into the Army calling them “repentant”.

The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor has said that a decade-long probe has found enough evidence to merit opening a full-scale investigation into allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity by Boko Haram extremists – as well as by Nigerian government forces battling them in a deadly insurgency.

Winding up the preliminary probe into northeastern Nigeria’s Islamic uprising, Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said, Friday, there is a “reasonable basis to believe” Boko Haram and splinter groups linked to it committed crimes including murder, rape, sexual slavery and torture, as well as intentionally targeting schools and places of worship and using child soldiers.

She added that while the “vast majority of criminality” in the conflict was by Boko Haram, prosecutors also found grounds to believe that members of the Nigerian Security Forces committed crimes including murder, rape, torture and using child soldiers.

Bensouda said the next step will be to request authorisation from judges to open a formal investigation.

Boko Haram and the breakaway faction, the Islamic State West Africa Province, are fighting to impose strict Islamic Shariah rule in Nigeria. Thousands have been killed in the more than 10-year-old insurgency and more than a million people have been displaced. Bensouda said the preliminary probe took a decade in part because her office was monitoring investigations in Nigeria linked to the conflict.

Ultimately, she said that, “our assessment is that none of these proceedings relate, even indirectly, to the forms of conduct or categories of persons that would likely form the focus of my investigations.” Amnesty International welcomed the announcement and urged the court to swiftly begin an “effective and well-resourced investigation.”

Vanguard News Nigeria